More Strange Weapons: A Stone (God’s Will Is Functional)

June 10, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Posted in Biblical friendship, Strange Weapons | 3 Comments
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In a previous lesson we saw that the weapon of a millstone reminds us that God’s will is like a weapon in spiritual warfare in that stones are foundational.

This time we will see that stones are also functional. Stones do a variety of jobs. In Bible times they not only made up the buildings, they were sometimes the tools for building. Sometimes they were also monuments for remembering. Other times they were weapons for throwing. God’s sovereign will is the ultimate in functionality. It not only creates or allows all circumstances, but it functions and operates in all circumstances.

Under the heading that “Stones are Functional” I want to use the memory device “CPR:”

Career: When you are building a career, will you trust God’s will, and seek out a “vocation” (a calling from God)?

Priorities: When you are considering your priorities, will you trust God’s will and let Him order your priorities and arrange your time? His Word settles the “first things.”

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Matthew 6:33

Things that are “added” are things that come “later.”

Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

Revelation 2:5

The best place to get back into God’s will is the place you got out. Do the “first works.” The freedom we have in the Spirit is not freedom to do what we want. Relaxation is not true freedom. True freedom is freedom from the selfishness of sin, and it is the freedom to obey God. The good works that God has ordained for us to do are prioritized by His sovereign will.

Relationships: When you are building your relationships, will you trust God’s will and let Him pick your friends? God has appointed your spouse to be your special friend over and above other people in your life. Beyond that, He has sovereignly appointed who your neighbors happen to be, who your acquaintances happen to be, and even who your fellow church members happen to be. These people are in your life for a reason – they are not “random.” Trust God in your relationships – you need this weapon on your side in spiritual warfare.

The strange weapon of God’s sovereign will can be found in every locality and in every situation, because, in spiritual warfare, the place where you are subject to being attacked is everywhere: at home, at church, on your job, in your relationships, in Bible study, in prayer, in Christian service.

Stones are wonderful weapons because of their functionality. They can roll down mountains and crush cities, or they can fit in your pocket. There is nowhere you will not be able to see the weapon of God’s will at work in the battle.

Stones are foundational, stones are functional, and stones are used for friction.

The weapon used by the woman in the tower to kill Abimelech was a millstone. A millstone is a large stone placed on top of another stone. These stones are usually round, and they are used to grind against each other and smash into powder or “flour” the kernels of different kinds of grain (e.g., wheat or corn) that are fed between them. A millstone works by grinding and crushing, and it produces friction. Do not think that God’s will is not going to involve you in a great deal of friction.

John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:

Luke 3:16 (emphasis added)

Notice that this verse says “and” with fire, not “in” fire. It is speaking of the heat of persecution not a “fiery” emotional manifestation of the Holy Spirit.

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

I Peter 4:12

And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.

Malachi 3:3

Christ the Lord – the Great Refiner – the Great Purifier of the Church – uses heat – friction – to purge impurities out of the hearts and lives of His people. If you have been a Christian for very long, then God’s sovereign will has sent circumstances into your life, sickness into your life, suffering into your life, even people into your life – to grind on you – to scrape away the rough edges and the impurities, so that you may be more conformed to the image of Christ.

The millstone in Judges Chapter 9 – the millstone that killed Abimelech – was the perfect weapon for the time and place of its use. It crushed Abimelech and cost him his life, his reputation, and his would-be kingdom. God’s will is perfect. Will you love it and trust it? Or will you try to resist it and be miserable? It is a weapon which we observe, not a weapon which we yield. The way to take advantage of this weapon is to stay close to God.

More Strange Weapons: A Stone (God’s Will Is Foundational)

June 3, 2011 at 11:23 am | Posted in Strange Weapons | 9 Comments
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Strange Weapons: A Prod, a Peg, and a Pitcher

More Strange Weapons: A Stone and a Bone

Last time, I reviewed the Biblical account of Abimelech’s death.

Then went Abimelech to Thebez, and encamped against Thebez, and took it. But there was a strong tower within the city, and thither fled all the men and women, and all they of the city, and shut it to them, and gat them up to the top of the tower. And Abimelech came unto the tower, and fought against it, and went hard unto the door of the tower to burn it with fire. And a certain woman cast a piece of a millstone upon Abimelech’s head, and all to brake his skull. Then he called hastily unto the young man his armourbearer, and said unto him, Draw thy sword, and slay me, that men say not of me, A woman slew him. And his young man thrust him through, and he died. And when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they departed every man unto his place. Thus God rendered the wickedness of Abimelech, which he did unto his father, in slaying his seventy brethren:

Judges 9:50-56

Before I start making the application, we need to remember something very important about God’s will: God’s will is perfect.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Romans 12:1-2 (emphasis added)

Many people will acknowledge that the Bible is infallible and inerrant. But if God’s Word is perfect, so must His will be perfect also. If you hold an extravagantly expensive diamond up to bright light, it will reveal a myriad of different views – all breath-taking. Even the slightest change of perspective will cause the viewer to see new refractions of light through its facets. The clarity, color, and cut of some diamonds seem to offer endless worlds of beautiful variations. However, even the most exquisite diamond will eventually reveal some flaw somewhere in its make-up. God’s will is like a diamond without a single flaw. If we could inspect God’s will from every angle, each millimeter of movement around it would reveal only more absolute perfection for all eternity. God’s will is completely FLAWLESS.

Faith is a great challenge for Christian believers, and it is prone to much misinformation and misunderstanding. Faith is not me pronouncing my will to God. It is trusting that His will is right, and will ultimately be for my good – even when His will seems completely against my will.

The Bible calls the woman who hurled the millstone down from the tower at Abimelech a “certain” woman, meaning she was a “particular” woman. She was distinguished from the others by the fact that she is the one who threw down the stone. But, in our idiom, we have another meaning for “certain:” someone who is “sure,” someone who is absolutely convinced. Are we “certain” men and women when it comes to trusting God’s will in our lives? Do we know that all things work together for good (Romans 8:28) to those who love God, who are the called according to His purpose? Or do we have uncertainty – do we think a few things can’t really work out for good?

The weapon of a millstone reminds us that God’s will is like a weapon of spiritual warfare in that:

I. Stones are foundational.

Stones form the underlying structure of things. In the Old Testament, the millstone was one of the basic, foundational tools for sustaining life.

No man shall take the nether or the upper millstone to pledge: for he taketh a man’s life to pledge.

Deuteronomy 24:6

It would have been difficult to grind grain for making bread without a millstone. In the New Testament, we have better Bread. Jesus said, I AM the Bread of Life. He proclaimed that He was the foundational Rock of the Church – all other ground is sinking sand. Upon this Rock I shall build My church, He said – that He is the Christ – the Son of the Living God. If we are going to utilize the advantage of God’s sovereign will in our spiritual warfare, we are going to have to build our house upon the Solid Rock of Jesus Christ. Anything that we are hoping to build to last is going to have to be built on Jesus.

A. The foundation concerning God’s will is for building.

We must build our lives on the foundation of God’s sovereignty. When the people of Thebez ran into a tower to escape Abimelech, that seemed like a foolish plan. Abimelech was setting towers on fire, and battering doors down. But he could not defeat God’s will. God’s will was for him to die in defeat and disgrace – and God accomplishes His will.

When you are in trouble – financial trouble, relationship trouble, sickness, confusion – will you go through the Door which is Christ Jesus, and hide yourself in the Tower which is Almighty God? The Name of the Lord is a strong tower – the righteous run into it, and they are saved.

B. The foundation concerning God’s will is broad.

Remember, Abimelech had a will, too, but Abimelech’s will was opposed to God’s will. Abimelech wanted to be King, and among his followers he was popular and supported. But man’s will is fickle and transient. People can love you and support you one day, and betray you and desert you the next day. God’s will is a foundation that is broad in the sense that it covers all contingencies, and remains firm. God’s will is a rock that you may fall upon – but it is also a rock that you may never fall off. God is immutable. God does what pleases God, not what pleases man. In the warfare of the Christian life, you are going to want a weapon that is dependable – that will not let you down. You are going to want to place your trust in God, not in men. Even when God’s circumstances make it seem like He doesn’t know what He is doing, and people are giving you what sounds like good reasonable advice, trust God, not people.

C. The foundation concerning God’s will is found at the bottom.

Remember, Abimelech wanted to be the “head.” He concocted his scheme to be King in his own “head.” And he was defeated when God’s strange weapon – His sovereign will in the form of a stone – struck him on the head.

The foundation of a building is located at the bottom – it is the base. When a foundation is too narrow, too limited, and you try to build on it, to build upwards, it gets too “top heavy.” The things stacked at the top fall easily and they fall hard – and they destroy much around them.

If you are building your life on the world’s ideas of the future, on your own ideas of the future, on what you can only see – apart from faith – with your own eyes trying to look into the future, then your plans are liable to fall easily, fall hard, and to destroy those around you. The 9/11 terrorists flew their hijacked planes into the top of the World Trade Center. They would not have caused much damage if they had hit a building with a broad base and a narrow top. Church steeples are more sharp and pointed the higher they go in order to symbolize the fact that the closer we get to God, the smaller we realize we are, and the bigger we realize He is. Abimelech was a terrorist who wanted to cause maximum destruction.

When the tower in Siloam fell, what did Jesus say? “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” God is sovereign – He’s in control.

God’s will, like a stone, is foundational. Next time, we will see that stones are also functional.

The Earthly King and the Heavenly King

April 29, 2010 at 11:46 am | Posted in Esther, Uncategorized | 9 Comments
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The book of Esther describes the devil’s attempt to prevent the birth of the Messiah years before it happened. The way he attempted this was horrific. He designed a plan to annihilate the entire Jewish people. To accomplish this evil plan, Satan used (as he would again centuries later in the case of Adolph Hitler) a man who hated the Jews: Haman.

Haman’s scheme was thwarted through the Lord’s providential use of a man named Mordecai, and the Jewish Queen Esther. In order to stop Haman, however, Esther needed to gain an audience with the king. Esther employed a good deal of wisdom in gaining the king’s favor, but in her approach to this earthly king, we may see some contrasts between the inferiority of an earthly king and the superiority of the King of Kings.

Now it came to pass on the third day, that Esther put on her royal apparel, and stood in the inner court of the king’s house, over against the king’s house: and the king sat upon his royal throne in the royal house, over against the gate of the house. And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favour in his sight: and the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre that was in his hand. So Esther drew near, and touched the top of the sceptre.

Esther 5:1-2

a. The earthly king may refuse to grant an audience to his subject on a whim; the King of Kings openly invites all to come unto Him. (Romans 10:13)

b. The earthly king demands that those who come before his throne come meekly; the King of Kings allows those who truly desire His help to come boldly. (Hebrews 4:16)

c. The earthly king may swing from being in a good mood to being in a bad mood purely without reason; the King of Kings deals justly with all on the basis of His unchanging character. (Malachi 3:6)

d. The earthly king may or may not keep his promises; the King of Kings is never slack concerning His promises. (II Peter 3:9)

e. The earthly king demands that his subjects keep their distance; the King of Kings beckons His followers to draw nigh. (Hebrews 7:19)

f. The earthly king may grant a request, but secretly be motivated by his own selfish desires; the King of Kings has plans for His servants that are always for their own good. (Jeremiah 29:11)

g. The earthly king motivates his servants to obedience through the threat of harm; the King of Kings motivates His servants by His unwavering love for them. (John 15:9-11)

Turning Up the Heat – Part 3

March 30, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Posted in Bible Studies | 5 Comments
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Previously we examined:

1. The position of the Refiner
2. The purpose of the refining.

Now, let’s look at:

3. The product of the refining

And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.

Malachi 3:3, emphasis added

The end result of the refining of silver should be what? Refined silver. Pure silver. And not just so the refiner can say, “Okay, it’s pure!” No, refined silver is ready to be used for something – to be offered up. The Master Refiner – the Lord Jesus – wants the purified silver to be an offering in righteousness, but not an offering of something just to be put up on a shelf and admired. A righteous offering is something that can be used for the Glory of God.

Now, let’s be clear, the Refiner doesn’t take a lost person, somebody who’s never been born again, and put him in the Silversmith’s cauldron, and turn up the heat and keep it up until he does enough good works to earn his way to heaven. No, we are not saved by works.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

The Bible is very clear on that. But, as believers, sometimes we start to abuse the idea of grace. We read Ephesians 2:8-9 and we say, “Oh yeah, uh-huh, I’m a child of grace – grace has set me free… Now don’t talk to me about works! I’m all about grace, and I don’t want to hear anything about works!” And we fail to read what comes next:

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10

The Bible says we are created unto good works. You can not work for your salvation. But you should certainly be motivated to work because of it. God ordained some works for you to do – some good works – before you were ever created.

The purpose of the refining is to make us fit – suitable – to accomplish good works for the Refiner. Are you being refined today? Is the Refiner turning up the heat because you are holding on to those last few impurities?

The first time I taught this lesson, someone asked me, “How long will the refining last?” The refining will last until we are purified. But if you are asking me what can we do to shorten the refining process, my answer would be to let go of sin we are stubbornly holding onto. Now, that answer may feel like me stepping on your toes. And what’s even worse is that I highly recommend Bible study, prayer, church attendance, and Sunday School to help in your refining. If you don’t like those recommendations, your issue is not really with me. Your issue is with the Word of God and the Holy Spirit of God. If a person is stepping on your toes, it’s easy enough to get some protective foot-wear. But if the Holy Ghost is stepping on your toes, the best way I can think of to stop getting your toes stepped on is to move your feet – move them right in line with the Word of God. That’s the path – the only safe path – for your feet to go.

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

II Timothy 2:15

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Hebrews 10:25

And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

Luke 18:1

And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.

Acts 5:32

Let us thank God that our refining is not for vanity. You want to know how long a refiner refines and purifies silver and gold? The answer is, as long as it takes. I doubt the truthfulness of this illustration, since I suspect that looking into a pot of molten silver over extreme heat could cause blindness, but it makes a good point: A silversmith determines that the silver he is refining is pure when he can look down and see his own reflection in it. In the same way, the Lord Jesus is refining us until He looks down and sees an image of Himself looking back.

1. The position of the Refiner: sitting
2. The purpose of the refining: purified faith and obedience
3. The product of the refining: believers conformed to the image of Christ.

Turning Up the Heat – Part 2

March 26, 2010 at 11:39 am | Posted in Bible Studies | 4 Comments
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And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.

Malachi 3:3

The Refiner in this verse is Jesus Christ. Previously we examined:

1. The position of the Refiner

This time we will look at:

2. The purpose of the refining

And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.

Malachi 3:3, emphasis added

The sons of Levi were the priests of Israel. They were dedicated especially to serving the Lord. From them the Book of Leviticus gets its name. Out of their ranks, the one high priest went into the place behind the veil, into the Holy of Holies. Those who serve the Lord in the most important ways, and who are closest to Him, must be especially pure. As a husband and a father, I am called in a special way to be especially obedient to God. I can’t be the husband God wants me to be or the father God wants me to be if I am not especially separated unto Him, and pure before Him.

Here are three pointers that I, as a royal priest, a servant of God – as someone who wants to be closer to God and to really get something out of the refining experience – will want to do. They have to do with obedience:

A. Obey immediately.

If ye love me, keep my commandments.

John 14:15

If I see one of my children standing in the road, in danger of being struck by a speeding truck, and I say, “Move now!” – I don’t want a debate about the reasons for moving now. I want immediate obedience. There are many good reasons for attending church services, but the best reason is that God has commanded it. When God commands it, I do not need an explanation. Delayed obedience is the same as disobedience.

B. Obey completely.

And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul,

Deuteronomy 11:13

When I tell my child to sweep the floor, I do not mean simply sweep everything into a corner and leave it there. I mean sweep it into a dust pan, pick it up, and get rid of it. It is good to give out Gospel tracts, but it is not a substitute for verbally telling someone (preaching) the Gospel when God gives us that opportunity. Partial obedience is the same as disobedience.

C. Obey sweetly.

If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:

Isaiah 1:19

When I tell my children to pick up their toys, they often sulk while doing it grudgingly. Sometimes I am guilty of praying like it’s just a chore, or reading my Bible like it’s just a chore. Giving is a command – cheerful giving is truly pleasing to God. Grudging obedience is not really obedience. Obey immediately, obey completely, and obey sweetly.

One purpose of the refining is to make us more obedient, but the main purpose of the refining is the purifying. When the silver is heated, the impurities rise to the top. The refiner, who is sitting, who is patiently and attentively – even lovingly – watching, immediately scrapes off the impurities. This is called the dross. The dross is discarded – thrown away. This is similar to the symbol of the branches that bear no fruit.

And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

Matthew 3:10-12

John the Baptist pointed to the ministry of the Lord Jesus, saying, “I baptize with water, but He will baptize with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.”

We look at that and we get all excited. We tell people, “When you get saved, He will baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and you will be ‘on fire,’” meaning “fired up” or excited. Then the person who has been saved can’t understand why he’s suffering. He thinks, “God must be mad at me.” Or he thinks, “The devil tricked God, and took away my joy… If I could just find somebody to give me an emotional experience to make me feel better – somebody to laugh or cry with me… I need to feel something positive.”

Friends, that “feeling” is going to last about as long as it takes you to get to your car in the parking lot after a church service. As I’ve heard attributed to Martin Luther:

Feelings come and feelings go
And feelings are deceiving
Our warrant should be the Word of God
Nothing else is worth believing

When we see where Matthew 3:10-12 is placed – in the middle of three examples of useless, nonproductive things – we can better understand its context.

The axe cuts down the trees which don’t bear fruit, and they are good for what? Burning. The winnowing fork picks up the wheat, and separates the chaff, and the chaff is good for what? Burning.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

I Peter 1:3-7

Many of us are scared to death to have our faith tried. “Oh Refiner,” we say, “I think you made a mistake! The fire’s too hot! Get me out of here now – I’m purged, purified, and refined! I’m proclaiming my faith!” But the truth is our faith is on trial every day. What kind of faith do you have at home? What kind of faith do you have when you don’t feel like serving the Lord? What kind of faith do you have when the Holy Ghost says, “Your body is My temple, and you are taking My temple places – and putting things in My temple – that make Me uncomfortable?” Does your faith go into action in the form of obedience?

I have never seen the bank where I send my monthly mortgage payments, but I write a check to them (almost) every month. Because I have a fear of being foreclosed on and evicted. I have faith in that bank. I believe it exists and that it can do what it says it can do. Do I fear God? Do I have faith in God? My mouth talks, and my actions talk – but when it comes to faith, my actions talk louder than my talk talks. The purpose of the refining is a stronger faith and a true obedience – purified, refined, purged of impurities.

1. The position of the Refiner: sitting
2. The purpose of the refining: purified faith and obedience

Next time, let’s look at:

3. The product of the refining

Turning Up the Heat – Part 1

March 19, 2010 at 9:30 am | Posted in Bible Studies | 13 Comments
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Lord, let us hear from You. Thank You for Your patience, for Your love, for Your saving grace. One of the benefits of our salvation is having ears to hear. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. In the precious name of Christ I pray. Amen.

And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.

Malachi 3:3

This verse says He shall sit, and the “He” is the Lord Jesus. It is partially a reference to a time when He shall come to defeat the Antichrist, and shall establish His kingdom on Earth for 1000 years. Not all theologians believe in this, but many of those who do call it the Millennial Reign. But Malachi 3:3 also speaks of the work of Christ in the lives of believers today.

If you have been born again – if you have been saved – if your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life – if you have trusted Christ as your Savior – then this verse applies to you. I want us to notice 3 things about this verse:

1. The position of the Refiner
2. The purpose of the refining
3. The product of the refining

The Position of the Refiner

When we look at the position of the refiner, we are a little concerned: “And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver…” Sitting is a position that we usually equate with laziness or a lack of concern.

[Let me pause here for a brief tangent on the topic of “sitting.” If you are a Christian boy or man – especially a teen-aged boy or young man – do not let yourself be caught sitting while someone else is working in front of you. A lady who is carrying something heavy should never have to excuse herself to get by you because you are loitering in her way. As someone who has been frustrated in the past by the failure of unbiblical church “youth groups,” I have seen this happen numerous times. If you are in a position of leadership in church youth ministry, or, more to the point, if you are a Christian parent or elder, please stress to teen-aged boys and overgrown “youth group” males that they are to be:

Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

Romans 12:11

The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour.

Proverbs 21:25

Slothful is the Bible word for lazy. A Christian should be diligent, not lazy.]

Okay, back to the point: We see the that the Refiner in Malachi 3:3 is sitting – sitting before a hot cauldron or pot of molten silver. In this illustration, you and I, as Christians, are the silver. And we are in the heat, but the Refiner is just sitting. We are tempted to ask, “What do you mean He’s sitting? I’m in the fire! Things are really getting hot for me! I’m having troubles – troubles at work, trials at home, suffering in my body! Why is He just sitting? Doesn’t He care?”

The temptation to think this way comes from a misunderstanding about the nature of God. God is not a nervous parent, up at 2:30 a.m., pacing the floor, wringing His hands, waiting for the phone to ring, and muttering, “Why won’t My son call me if he’s in trouble? Why won’t My daughter come home – I don’t know where she is?” Nor is He snoring soundly while His children are getting into all sorts of trouble beyond the realm of His consciousness. No, the Refiner of silver sits because He’s in it for the long-haul.

I work in an office, and when I have some very important paperwork to attend to, I sit down and pay attention. The Refiner must pay close attention. He will not let the refining fire He’s attending cool down too much or get too hot. Our Lord sits as a Refiner because He is determined to do a thorough and complete job.

Another reason the Refiner is sitting is because He is the King, and is in total control. He’s sovereign. When an earthly king receives his subjects, he sits and they stand. They are nervous and stressed. They want their requests granted, but they are uncertain. The king is sure. He is calm and regal. He knows he has the power. If he declares it to be, it is so. Our Lord Jesus, the Master Refiner, is sitting because He paid a high a price for us, and He wants us to be pure. He’s not sitting because he doesn’t care – He’s sitting because he does care.

I believe it was Charles Spurgeon who used the analogy of an infant with a dirty face. This child is crying because his mother is vigorously scrubbing his face clean. The child is greatly agitated, but the mother is smiling, calm, and humming a merry tune. The mother has the peaceful and purposeful assurance that a clean face is the best thing for her child at that moment. How often we cry to the Lord to be relieved of our sufferings! We do not realize that the relief we are crying for would not be good for us. Our Lord loves us too much to let us stay defiled. He paid too high a price for His silver and gold to let it remain full of impurities.

That is the position of the Refiner: sitting. Next time, we will delve a little more into the the purpose of the refining.

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